Housing—Optional Technical Standards
Housing—Optional Technical Standards

The following Planning practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Housing—Optional Technical Standards
  • What are the optional technical housing standards?
  • What optional technical housing standards can LPAs set?
  • Accessibility and wheelchair housing standards
  • Evidence to demonstrate a need to set higher accessibility, adaptability and wheelchair housing standards
  • Water efficiency standards
  • Internal space standards

What are the optional technical housing standards?

In March 2015, following consultation on accessible design standards, the government issued policy in the form of a Written Ministerial Statement on housing standards. It introduced new additional optional Building Regulations on water and access, and new optional national space standards referred to as the ‘new national technical standards’.

The new standards complement the mandatory Building Regulations 2010, SI 2010/2214.

What optional technical housing standards can LPAs set?

Local planning authorities (LPAs) have the option of setting additional technical requirements exceeding the minimum standards required by the Building Regulations 2010 in respect of:

  1. access

  2. water, and

  3. space standards

Planning Practice Guidance (PPG) advises that LPAs need to gather evidence to determine whether there is a need for additional standards in their area, and justify setting appropriate policies in their local plans.

Building Regulations covering the physical security of new dwellings came into force on 1 October 2015. LPAs should therefore no longer seek to impose any additional requirements for security of individual dwellings through plan policies, though designing for security of site layout remains a valid planning consideration.

Accessibility and wheelchair housing standards

The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) makes clear that LPAs should plan to create safe, inclusive and accessible places which promote health and well-being, with a high standard of amenity for

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